*I wrote this last week and never posted it. I’m posting it now because I want to record these feelings. And because maybe this will help some other mama who is running in her own personal hamster wheel. Cuz aren’t we all sometimes?
I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I run, run, run, run, and never actually go anywhere. I run as fast and as hard as I can with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. No matter how hard I try and how much I give, it’s never quite enough.
I have a crew of four crazy little boys born in four years. They are good, sweet, innocent little boys. But when they are together (which is basically every moment of every day) they create this little Bermuda Triangle of mischief and destruction. They get into everything!
Jacob can open doors, climb anything, and is totally fearless. Braden is inquisitive, likes to take things apart, and tends to act out when he’s frustrated. Asher is usually the ring leader- he’s impulsive, curious, and high-spirited and the other boys follow along in whatever crazy, naughty thing he’s doing.
The boys are very quick and they can either work together to cause as much trouble as possible in one spot, or they can split up and cause trouble in several different places at once. I don’t know how they get into so much in one day or how I manage to hang onto my patience and a portion of my sanity through it all. It’s exhausting.
Just yesterday they flooded both the window well and the bathroom, made “soup” on the stove, threw mud and poop (yup) on the back porch, and required five changes of clothes and two different baths. The day before they dumped dog food and powdered sugar into my oven and Asher stripped naked and slathered himself up head to toe in peanut butter. (He said he wanted to be a sandwich.)
It’s constant. It’s exhausting. It’s mind-boggling how much they get into. It’s discouraging that I can never quite keep up with them. Run, run, run, run in my daily hamster wheel.
This is not what I am used to. My first babies were easy peasy. They slept 12 hours at night. They came when I called. They sat without a peep in church. They preferred puzzles and story books and quiet, imaginative play. They never colored on walls or flooded toilets or played with poop or dumped powdered sugar or shoved socks down the sink drain. Easy peasy.
But these little boys, parented exactly the same way, are exactly the opposite of the older kids. They do things that would turn anyone’s hair instantly grey. They do these things constantly. They do these things no matter what I do, no matter how I parent, no matter how I correct or guide or punish or distract. It’s enough to make me feel like a failure pretty regularly because they never seem to learn what I am trying to teach.
Sometimes, the only thing I can at the end of the day is, “Well, at least I was patient with them.” Maybe patience (especially through disaster after disaster) is enough… but it doesn’t usually feel like it.
Run, run. Run, run.
I know this post is a downer right now, but don’t worry, I’m getting to the cheery and positive part! No matter how crazy life is, there is always a cheery, positive part!
See, the big difference between me and that hamster in the wheel, is that I am actually working towards something valuable. I’m NOT running for no reason. I’m running for a purpose! I’m running for the greatest, most divine purpose of all!
I am raising beautiful children, raising them to the Lord. Someday (hopefully, prayerfully) these crazy little boys of mine will be strong, determined, valiant young men, doing what is right and obeying Heavenly Father and living good lives. Amid the spilled oatmeal and the flooded toilets and the crayoned walls, there is a peace in knowing what I am actually working towards.
So I laugh (and sometimes cry!) through our daily disasters and try to remember that each day is a progression towards a larger goal. I try to remember that I don’t need to change my boys. I don’t need to parent-out their spunk and spirit or their high energy or their curiosity. Instead, I need to teach them to obey Heavenly Father and to use these qualities for good. I remember something that my aunt said, speaking to her daughter about her children: “You wanted a banana and you were blessed with a peach instead. A peach is very different from a banana, but it’s just as good!”
I love my crazy little boys! My days would be so boring without them! I certainly would be lacking for status updates to post on facebook! And how would I ever learn such extreme patience without the constant need to practice it?
Seriously though, I love how fun-loving, free-spirited, and totally unique they each are. I love Braden’s sense of humor and how intelligent and inquisitive he is. I love talking with that special boy because he always has something interesting or funny to say. I love Asher’s playfulness, his imagination, and his zest for life. I even love his craziness because it’s a part of who he is. I love his giggle and his “best hugs.” I love Jacob’s determination and intensity, his fearless nature and his sense of adventure. I love the way he lifts his arms and says “you” and still wants to be picked up when he is tired. I love these unique, incredible, beautiful, crazy boys of mine! I love their hugs, I love their laughter. I love how deeply I have to reach inside myself to parent them, how much I have to rely on Heavenly Father to guide me along.
These boys are either going to keep me young forever or age me far beyond my years, but either way it’s a fantastic journey. Totally crazy, but absolutely fantastic!